The 2011 Audi S4 is the performance version of the A4, but unlike the more sedate model, it’s only available as a sedan (no Avant wagon option). Designed as a direct competitor of vehicles like the Mercedes C63 AMG and Lexus IS-F, it has a base MSRP of $47,000.
In all honesty, the 2011 S4 isn’t that different from previous year’s models. This year’s car comes with an optional navigational system that also supports HD radio, and the Prestige trim level comes with rear parking sensors and a backup camera as standard features, while Side Assist is offered as its own option now.
Exterior features are in line with other S4 models – variations on the same year’s A4 styling, but with no tell-tale design elements that scream “I’m a performance car!” It does have a spoiler integrated into the lid of the trunk, aluminum mirrors, LED taillights and 18 wheels sporting performance tires. There are metallic “aluminum optic” design accents on both the front and rear diffuser blades as well as the side mirrors (which are heated and auto-dim), and a whopping four tailpipes. Also, the S4 logo has been stamped on the brake calipers. If you upgrade to the Prestige trim you’ll get 19-inch wheels.
Inside the 2011 Audi S4, things are much more promising. Think brushed aluminum trim a black headliner. Think about a choice of carbon fiber, wood or stainless steel for interior features. The steering wheel bears the S4 badge, as do the doorsills, gauge cluster, and remote transmitter.
Other interior features of the S4 include Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free phone use, keyless entry and ignition, and options for leather upholstery, the afore-mentioned navigational system, and a swank stereo system by Bang & Olefsen.
Of course, with a performance car it’s all about the powertrain, and the 2011 Audi S4 is no slouch. It’s powered by a supercharged 3.0-liter 333-horsepower V-6 engine that provides 325 pounds-feet of torque. There’s a choice of a six-speed manual or seven speed automated manual transmission, which latter comes with dual clutches for the fastest possible gear shifting. While it does have an automatic mode, gears can be changed by using the steering-wheel mounted paddle-shifters.
Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive comes as a standard feature on the S4. Torque distribution is split 40/60 percent front/rear. Available as an optional upgrade is Audi’s QuattroSport mechanical rear differential.
Safety features haven’t been ignored in the 2011 Audi S4, either. It’s got the full complement of required airbags (frontal, side-curtain, etc.), but the front seats also have torso airbags, which can be added to the back seats as an optional upgrades. Other standard features are an electronic stability system with traction control, and four-wheel-disc antilock brakes.
While fuel efficiency isn’t really something most of us pay attention to when purchasing a fast car, it’s worth knowing that the 2011 Audi S4 does a respectable 18 mpg on city streets, and 27-28 mpg (depending on powertrain specifics), when on the open highway.